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Equity supports agribusiness with provision of tailor-made financing for small-scale farmers

The loans are insured, thereby protecting farmers from losses they may incur due to poor harvests resulting from unforeseen occurrences like drought, too much rainfall or pest infestations.

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Dr. James Mwangi, Group Managing Director and CEO of Equity Group Holdings and Executive Chairman Equity Group Foundation.PHOTO/Courtesy.

Many Kenyan households in rural parts of the country still rely on farming as a source of livelihood; most of this is subsistence. The high cost of farm inputs has played a prohibitive role in the adoption of agribusiness by farmers.

It is against this backdrop that Equity has been implementing a farm inputs subsidy programme dubbed Kenya Cereal Enhancement Programme – Climate-Resilient Agricultural Livelihoods Window (KCEP-CRAL). The scheme is being implemented in partnership with the Government of Kenya, the European Union, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

The programme aims at supporting smallholder farmers to increase productivity and profitability of cereal production by ensuring that targeted smallholder farmers access farm inputs, value chain financing, linkage to markets, post-harvest management and investments in interventions that build resilience to climate change and sustainable natural resources management

Equity Group Managing Director and CEO Dr James Mwangi notes that Equity’s role as an implementing partner aligns with the bank’s core values of creativity and innovation. The bank has invested heavily in interventions in agriculture and continues to engage with partners to improve the lives and livelihoods of all players on the entire agriculture value chain.

Through the programme, Equity has so far disbursed KES 1.65 billion to 71,073 farmers to enable them to purchase farm inputs. What’s different about these loans is that they are tied to wallets that can only be redeemed at one of the 364 pre-qualified agro-dealer outlets.

For instance, if a farmer took a loan of KES 20,000, that money will be deposited into their e-wallets and they have specific limits that they can spend on different kinds of inputs e.g KES 2,000 on equipment, KES 5,000 on fertilizer, KES 8,000 on seeds and so on until the entire amount is exhausted. This means that farmers under this scheme cannot get loans for one thing and spend the money on things it was not intended for.

The loans are insured, thereby protecting farmers from losses they may incur due to poor harvests resulting from unforeseen occurrences like drought, too much rainfall or pest infestations.

In addition to financing, the farmers benefit from financial literacy training and agricultural extension services where the progress of their farms are monitored and appropriate technical advice given by agricultural officers.

The bank initially operated a debit card-based, electronic platform (e-voucher) since the year 2016 but as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic, it developed and deployed a mobile banking-based e-voucher system dubbed KCEP-CRAL Plus. The contactless solution has been an innovative model to curb the spread of the novel corona virus.

Among beneficiaries of KCEP-CRAL Plus is Resy Airo from Bungoma County. Resy joined the programme in 2016 where she received a subsidy of 80%. Her farming yields grew and she was already being weaned out of the programme receiving a reduced subsidy of 60% before the Covid-19 pandemic struck. Resy has been able to meet her family’s financial needs as well as build a house from her farming proceeds.

“When I joined the programme we were using cards but with the introduction of mobile e-vouchers, I don’t have to deal with cash. I feel safer against COVID-19 because nothing is touched in the transaction between the agro-dealer and I,” says Resy.

Bildad Wasilwa is a first-timer in the programme. The young farmer ventured into agribusiness after his hardware business closed down due to the effects of lockdowns and restrictions occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic. As he collects his seeds and fertilizer from the agro-dealer, he is optimistic about a good harvest.

“I like the fact that we are transacting with the mobile phone. There is no touching or exchanging anything,” he says. “My parents are farmers and I know that agribusiness has great potential. I believe that if I apply the knowledge gained from extension officers, my farm will be profitable.”

Equity offers additional training on financial education and entrepreneurship to the farmers and agro-dealers. Farmers get to appreciate the need to plan their yield for consumption at home, and how much to sell to raise cash, or how much to store. Agro-dealers are equipped with better entrepreneurship and financial management skills that help them scale their businesses.

This agribusiness approach to farming facilitates income generation for re-investment in agriculture and ensures they have a sustainable income. This training and exposure to financial systems also allow financially excluded farmers to enjoy the benefits of banking.

“In the long-term, farmers have the opportunity to approach financial institutions, have their land assessed and access credit facilities. This ensures they have sustainable farms that can self-finance on their merit,” says Moses Abukari, IFAD Regional Programme Manager.

The programme is currently being implemented in five counties in Western Kenya and interested farmers can visit their nearest Equity Bank branches for more information or sign up.

 

 

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List of newly elected MCAs in Nakuru County

The following are the Nakuru County elected MCAs following the 9th August General elections. The United Democratic Alliance party (UDA) got the most number of seats at 39

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The new County Asssembly of Nakuru chambers

The following are the Nakuru County elected MCAs following the 9th August General elections. The United Democratic Alliance party (UDA) got the most number of seats at 39. The Jubilee party managed 6 seats, while the Safina party won 1 seat. Seven of the MCAs were elected as independent candidates. Out of the 55 elected MCAs, 8 are women.

Naivasha Constituency MCAs 2022

  1. Maiella – Gituku Jane Wanjiru (UDA)
  2. 2. Naivasha East – Stanley Karanja (UDA)
  3. 3. Maai Mahiu – Eliud Kamau Chege (UDA)
  4. 4. Biashara – Elijah Mwaura (UDA)
  5. 5. Viwandani – Mwangi Muraya (UDA)
  6. 6. Lakeview – Alex Mbugua (UDA)
  7. 7. Hellsgate – Virginia Gichanga (Jubilee)
  8. 8. Ol’Karia – Peter Wanjala Palang’a (ODM)

Gilgil Constituency MCAs 2022

  1. 9. Gilgil – Rose Njoroge (UDA)
  2. 10. Malewa – Francis Mungai Kuria (UDA)
  3. 11. Eburru Baruk – Michael Gathanwa (UDA)
  4. 12. Elementaita – George Nene (Safina)
  5. 13. Morendat – Peter Njoroge (UDA)

Subukia Constituency MCAs 2022

  1. 14. Subukia – Isabella Makori (UDA)
  2. 15. Waseges – Elijah Murage (Independent)
  3. 16. Kabazi – George Talam (UDA)

Bahati Constituency MCAs 2022

  1. 17. Bahati – Grace Mwathi (UDA)
  2. 18. Kabatini – Leah Ng’ang’a (Independent)
  3. 19. Kiamaina – Paul Waweru Warege (Ka Wambui) (UDA)
  4. 20. Dundori – James Gathuita Mwangi (UDA)
  5. 21. Lanet Umoja -Mwangi Ngarama (UDA)

Nakuru Town East Constituency MCAs 2022

  1. 22. Nakuru East – Anthony Kamau (UDA)
  2. 23. Menengai – Wilson Mwangi (Jubilee)
  3. 24. Flamingo – David Kihumba Muraya (Independent)
  4. 25. Biashara – Fadhili Msuri (UDA)
  5. 26. Kivumbini – Neto Sakwa Alukutsa (Independent)

Nakuru Town West Constituency MCAs 2022

  1. 27. Rhoda – John Macharia (UDA)
  2. 28. London – Benard Gattuso (Jubilee)
  3. 29. Barut – Ben Kirui (UDA)
  4. 30. Kapkures – Robert Ruto (UDA)
  5. 31. Kaptembwa – Peter Kanjwang’ (ODM)
  6. 32. Shabaab – Macharia Wathiai (UDA)

Rongai Constituency MCAs 2022

  1. 33.Solai – Nixon Morogo (Independent)
  2. 34. Soin – Ellibas Naburuki (Degualle) (UDA)
  3. 35. Mosop – Dr. Alex Lang’at (UDA)
  4. 36. Menengai West – Isaac Kiptisya Rottok (UDA)
  5. 37. Visoi – Hellen Chemutai (UDA)

Njoro Constituency MCAs 2022

  1. 38. Njoro – Hezy Ndung’u (Independent)
  2. 39. Nessuit – Samuel Tonui (UDA)
  3. 40. Mauche – Moses Koros (UDA)
  4. 41. Mau Narok – Cyrus Dida (UDA)
  5. 42. Kihingo – Simon Kamau Karanja (Jubilee)
  6. 43. Lare – Phillip Wanjohi (Jubilee)

Molo Constituency MCAs 2022

  1. 44. Molo – Joseph Ngware (UDA)
  2. 45. Marioshoni – Ben Lang’at (UDA)
  3. 46. Elburgon – David Njuguna (Independent)
  4. 47. Turi – John Mwangi Macharia (Jubilee)

Kuresoi South Constituency MCAs 2022

  1. 48. Keringet – William Mutai (UDA)
  2. 49. Tinet – Paul Lang’at Alvin (Drilit) (UDA)
  3. 51. Kiptangich – Rose Mutai (UDA)
  4. 52. Amalo – Robert Lang’at (UDA)

Kuresoi North Constituency UDA MCA nominees

  1. 53. Sirikwa – Emmanuel Lang’at (UDA)
  2. 54. Kamara – Joseph Kipng’etich (Chemutwet) (UDA)
  3. 55. Kiptororo – Alex Bor (Kipyek) (UDA)

 

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Nakuru to host World Bee Day celebrations

The Apimondia Regional Commission (ARC) President, Mr David Mukomana, in a statement, said the three-day program will include technical tours to see beekeeping within Nakuru County and any other areas, exhibitions, seminars and the actual celebrations.

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Bees on a honey comb

Nakuru City will this year host the Regional World Bee Day (WBD) celebrations from the 18th – to the 20th of May 2022.

The yearly event is commemorated to raise awareness about the importance of bees and other pollinators for humanity in food security, global hunger eradication, and environmental and biodiversity conservation.

Under the theme; “Bee engaged: Celebrating the contribution of bees to the environment, food security and income generation to mankind.”

The forum will share knowledge from across the world, and draw the attention of the public and decision-makers to the importance of protecting bees as well as halting the further loss of biodiversity and degradation of ecosystems following the Paris Agreement.

FAO estimates that bees contribute to the pollination of food worth between $ 235 and $ 580 billion every year and that their decline continues to strain food systems.

Intensive farming practices, excessive use of agrochemicals, habitat loss, and adverse effects of climate among other issues have been identified as key hindrances causing the depopulation of bees and loss of colonies.

With such challenges, there is a need to come up with solutions that are resistive to the increasing bee population globally.

According to FAO, Kenya ranks third in Africa after Tanzania which is the largest producer of honey and produces approximately 31,405 tonnes annually while Angola ranks second producing about 23,500 tonnes annually.

As of 2020, Kenya’s production of honey was at 17,801 tonnes, up from 13,877 tonnes the previous year, this is a change of 28.28%.

Speaking during a past apiculture stakeholders’ workshop, State Department for Livestock Production Principal Secretary, Mr Harry Kimtai, expressed concern that new pests and farm pesticides have hit colonies hard.

“We’re collaborating with devolved units to halt the alarming depletion of bee colonies. Bee colony multiplication initiatives include capacity building, beekeeping equipment distribution, and bee bulking,” revealed PS Kimtai.

Despite the potential of honey production and the benefits of apicultural activity, very little income accrues from the activity.

The government in its progress, in the Big Four Agenda on 100% food and nutrition security, is committed to enhancing honey production from 25,000 tonnes to 38,000 tonnes by the year 2022.

Beekeeping offers an alternative source of livelihood and protects biodiversity and should ideally be established away from human interaction with enough bee forage and all-year-round availability of water to provide favourable conditions for beekeeping.

Nakuru County Executive Committee Member for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Dr Immaculate Maina, says that, ‘’bees have become increasingly endangered with one million species facing extinction. Thus, beekeeping should be embraced as an alternative environmentally friendly income-earning enterprise.”

‘’We hope that by hosting this event, we will be able to proactively assist in the opening up of our county by giving marketing opportunities and investment prospects in the apiculture industry,” Dr Maina noted.

“We also anticipate important topics discussed during the three-day forum, such as the role of women in the sector as those most affected by climate change, solutions to save our bee species from extinction, and how we can continue to rely on pollinators to save us from the current climate crisis,” she concluded.

Acting CEO of the Apiculture Platform of Kenya (APK), Mr Frederick Otieno Odera, says that beekeeping has significant potential in Africa to improve rural incomes and diversify livelihoods.

“We hope the commemoration of the National World Bee Day will showcase new technologies and sustainable measures from across the world in the apiculture industry and provide sustainable solutions to save our bees in the current climate crisis,” said Otieno.

The Apimondia Regional Commission (ARC) President, Mr David Mukomana, in a statement, said the three-day program will include technical tours to see beekeeping within Nakuru County and any other areas, exhibitions, seminars and the actual celebrations.

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Governor Kinyanjui drops deputy, picks Kamuren as running mate

The county is a cosmopolitan city and was the headquarters of the Rift Valley province under the old Constitution.

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Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui has dropped his Deputy of five years and named a woman running mate ahead of the August 2022 polls.

Kinyanjui, who is gunning for a second and final term in office, dropped Dr Eric Kipkoech in favour of Ms Franciscar Jelagat Kamuren.

He explained that Kamuren, 47, is an accomplished grassroots mobilizer with a strong passion for community development and was picked after wide consultation.

“Äfter long consultations with diverse stakeholders, I have decided to appoint Ms Franciscar Jelagat Kamuren as running mate for my second term bid,” Kinyanjui said.

The nominee holds a Masters’s degree in linguistics from Egerton University and has served in various capacities.

The governor is seeking to defend his seat via the ruling Jubilee party ticket under the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition.

He is however facing stiff competition from the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) candidate Susan Kihika, who is the current Senator for Nakuru and his appointment is seen as a tactic to woo the women vote.

His announcement comes hours after Kihika unveiled her running mate in a press conference from Nakuru.

Kihika picked David Kones as the man to deputize her after an interview that attracted half a dozen candidates.

The senator, who is a staunch supporter of Deputy President William Ruto was handed a direct ticket.

Nakuru is among the largest counties in Kenya and was recently conferred city status by President Uhuru Kenyatta, making it the fourth city in Kenya after Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu.

The county is a cosmopolitan city and was the headquarters of the Rift Valley province under the old Constitution.

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